Texans Team Grades: Houston’s Season Ends Against Patriots After 34-16 Divisional Round Loss

Shawn Lealos

No one gave the Houston Texans much of a chance against the New England Patriots in the divisional playoff game, but after a field goal to start the fourth quarter, Houston was only down by eight points to the double-digit favorite. Unfortunately, Brock Osweiler fell apart after that field goal and threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter. The Patriots added 10 more points to win the game 34-16 and effectively eliminated the Texans from the playoffs. 

Offense: D

When the Houston Texans signed Brock Osweiler away from the Denver Broncos in the offseason, the hope was that their search for a franchise quarterback had ended. However, Houston benched Osweiler during the season for poor play before being forced to return to the quarterback in the playoffs when Tom Savage fell to injury. After a win last week in an efficient game against Oakland, Osweiler was once again the cause for the loss against New England that ended the Texans’ season.

Brock Osweiler completed 57 percent of his passes for 198 yards and a low 8.6 yards per completion. He threw one touchdown in the game to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, but also threw three interceptions—all in the second half—and two in the fourth quarter while the game was still in striking distance for Houston. Osweiler had a chance to earn his huge contract and blew it in the end.

Houston’s other offensive weapons were decent, but ineffective. Lamar Miller ran the ball 19 times for 73 yards and DeAndre Hopkins caught six passes for 65 yards. Rookie receiver Will Fuller caught three balls for 16 yards and was ineffective in the special teams return game as well.

Defense: B

Without J.J. Watt for the season, no one expected much from the Houston Texans defense. They completely outplayed anyone’s expectations this year and were great in this game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Through the first half, the Texans only allowed Brady and the offense to score one touchdown in the first quarter. That was a Tom Brady pass to Dion Lewis. As a matter of fact, Lewis was the only real threat against the Texans for most of the game, as he also ran for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and returned a kick for a touchdown in the first quarter.

The Texans defense sacked Brady twice, intercepted him twice, and forced Dion Lewis to fumble the ball once as well. Their three turnovers matched the Patriots’ three interceptions, but the Texans offense couldn’t capitalize like the Patriots offense did. Whitney Mercilus and Brian Cushing notched the sacks while A.J. Bouye and Andre Hal nabbed the interceptions. The Texans defense played well enough to win, but the offense let them down.

Special Teams: C

The Houston Texans could have gone into halftime with the lead if not for a 98-yard kickoff return by Dion Lewis in the first quarter. The Texans did a good job the rest of the game in stopping big returns, although they couldn’t do much on their side of the ball. Nick Novak hit all three field goals in the game and Shane Lechler was used a lot again, with eight punts, three pinned inside the 20 and one a touchback.

Coaching: B

The Houston Texans played to their strengths in this game, with the defense leading the way. Brock Osweiler wasn’t asked to do too much early on, and the Texans kept it close. No one expected them to compete with New England, and not only did they compete, but they also made Tom Brady look human. However, they were left with Brock Osweiler throwing the ball at the end, and that put an end to their season. The coaching staff will do better next year if they can finally fix their quarterback position.

The loss to the New England Patriots ends the season for the Houston Texans. They will now head into the offseason trying to figure out what they will do at quarterback with Brock Osweiler owed $19 million next year. They will get J.J. Watt back to make their No. 1 defense even stronger, so they will remain a competitive team. However, until they fix their offense, the Texans will struggle in games like this. 

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